Is Recreational Marijuana Legal in Vermont? Is Medicinal Marijuana Legal in Vermont? What about CBD and Hemp?
Vermont, best known for its maple syrup production and Green Mountains, is an American state in the New England region of north-eastern U.S.A. Vermont encompasses a rich landscape of mountains and forestry. Vermont is also home to the HQ for Ben and Jerry's ice cream, a brand that has increasingly been associated with a progressive politics.
Bordering the Canadian province of Quebec, Vermont is the second least populated state in America and has a long history of Indigenous populace. Vermont abolished slavery before any other state in the U.S.A., in July 1777, when the state was first founded. However, according to Jared Ross Hardesty, "There were slaveholders in Vermont even after the Constitution". Vermont's history is therefore rich with African-American and Native American tradition.
According to CBS News, Vermont is a mostly liberal state, boasting the first openly transgender woman, Christine Hallquist, to ever receive a major party nomination for governor as The Democratic candidate. Governor Phil Scott, the current republican governor of the state, won the 2018 race against her. However, despite the Republican governance, Vermont remains historically progressive, both in it's culture and it's Marijuana laws.
Is recreational cannabis legal in Vermont?
Governor Phil Scott signed Act No. 86 in July 2018. This act removed civil and criminal penalties for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and permits growing two mature and four immature cannabis plants by adults over the age of 21. The growth of marijuana plants comes with stringent restrictions, including that the plants must be in a secure enclosure that is screened from public view, as well as limiting the legal amount of plants to each house-hold unit rather than resident. People who are convicted of possessing more than one ounce of marijuana, or more than two mature and four immature plants, are subject to imprisonment for a maximum of six months, with the potential to be fined up to $500.
Marijuana cultivation is something that happens at home, with the written permission of the property ownerApril McCullum, Burlington Free Press
If you're renting in Vermont, you must have approval from your landlord to grow marijuana in your rental property. Landlords can forbid the growth of weed in their rental agreements. The recreational consumption of marijuana is prohibited in public spaces, including any street, park, sidewalk and all tobacco free zones like restaurants, stores and hotel rooms.
Though recreational cannabis is legal in Vermont, the law is silent on how residents can actually purchase marijuana, unless it is gifted to you. Currently, there are no licensed dispensaries for recreational marijuana in the state. The Vermont Parliament is currently working on legislating Section 54, a drafted bill first introduced in 2019, that "proposes to establish 9 comprehensive regulatory systems for the production and sale of cannabis and 10 cannabis products in Vermont". Predicted to be passed in 2020, the bill is eagerly awaited by the recreational cannabis industry, keen to make their mark in Vermont.
Gov. Phil Scott signed the bill with "mixed emotions", telling the Burlington Free Press, his motivation for signing was the notion of American freedom.
I personally believe that what adults do behind closed doors and on private property is their choice, so long as it does not negatively impact the health and safety of othersGovernor Phil Scott, Burlington Free Press.
Is Medicinal Marijuana legal in Vermont?
Vermont's medical marijuana bill was passed into law in 2004, 14 years before recreational use was legalized. Vermont licences five medical marijuana dispensaries and appoints The Vermont Marijuana Registry with the responsibility of issuing medical cannabis cards to Vermont residents who qualify with the relevant medical conditions. Under Section 4473, a registered patient must be diagnosed with a "debilitating medical condition by a health care professional". A $50 application fee for a medical marijuana registration card applies, and the card expires a year after the issuing date.
Despite it's longterm legalization, Medical Marijuana dispensaries are still subject to strict rules, for example s4474 5(c) states a "dispensary shall not be located within 1,000 feet of the property line of a pre-existing public or private school or licensed or regulated child-care facility." Further, there are only five licensed medicinal marijuana dispensaries in Vermont.
Ultimately, yes, you can use marijuana as a treatment for severe health conditions in Vermont.
Is CBD legal in Vermont?
The Industrial hemp farming industry has been thriving in Vermont since 2008, following its legalization in 2005. Vermont, among other states, played an integral role in prompting Congress to pass the 2018 Farm Bill, which made industrial hemp and its derivatives legal on a Federal level.
There are approximately 570 registered Hemp farmers in Vermont, including Howard Prussack, owner of High Meadows Farm. Prussack comments "In a time when dairy farmers are struggling just to stay in business…This is a once-in-a-generational thing", adding that he has finally found an opportunity for financial stability, "And you can get involved and learn while you earn." Prussack, along with many other Vermont farmers, have taken up the opportunity to capitalise on the CBD and hemp industry rather than struggle through the declining dairy farming industry.
Additionally, according to a poll conducted by The Center for Rural Studies Vermont, 75% of Vermonters support the expansion of the hemp industry, and more than one third of respondents said they had used hemp-based products like CBD. The popularity of CBD and other hemp products thus bolster an already successful industry with significant hope for the future.
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